Same Care, Different Populations: Return-to-Learn Practices Following Concussion in Primary and Secondary Schools

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Abstract

The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of Massachusetts school nurses examining return-to-learn practices for children recovering from concussion in prekindergarten through high school. Regardless of school setting, all students received academic accommodations to support learning during recovery. School nurses perceived less benefit to prolonged cognitive rest (>4 days) for high school students relative to students in elementary school, but provided academic accommodations to them for comparatively longer periods of time (10-14 days vs 6-10 days). In all settings, respondents indicated a need for improved communication among treating physicians, parents, and school personnel, as well as improved education and standardized management tools for younger children and those who sustain non-sport-related injuries. Despite serving children at different developmental stages, school return-to-learn practices are essentially the same in primary and secondary schools, highlighting the need for standardized, developmentally appropriate return-to-learn plans and additional education for the providers and school personnel who implement them.

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